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Home News Launching little: Inside Rocket Lab’s ingenious plan to democratize space

Launching little: Inside Rocket Lab’s ingenious plan to democratize space

Rocket Lab

When you think of rocket launches, you probably think of huge companies like Boeing or SpaceX manufacturing massive rockets like the Starship. But Rocket Lab is taking the opposite approach: instead of building bigger rockets with larger payloads, it’s making rockets that are smaller, lighter, and more affordable. We spoke with company founder Peter Beck about how Rocket Lab is using new technologies to make space more accessible to all.

3D printing a lightweight, high performance rocket engine

One thing that Rocket Lab has become renowned for is its use of 3D printing techniques to manufacture its Rutherford rocket engine. This approach requires an entirely different approach to design than the use of manufacturing techniques like machining. “Part of the art of 3D printing is trying to combine as many parts and as much complexity within those parts as possible, which is the opposite of traditional manufacturing,” Beck explained. “In some respects, that makes assembly easier as there are fewer parts in total.”

The advantage of 3D printing complex engine parts is not only saving manufacturing costs, however, but also significant savings in weight which is an important factor in rocket launches. A complete Rutherford engine weighs just 20 kg and is one of the highest performing liquid oxygen/kerosene engines available, thanks to specially deigned components like injectors which can be printed rather than manufactured. “You can print things that you cannot produce any other way,” Beck said.

One rocket comes off the production line every 30 days

In addition to the engines, some other rocket components like valve bodies are 3D printed as well. But Beck doesn’t believe in using technology for the sake of it, and there are plenty of components which it makes “absolutely no sense” to 3D print, such as tanks or nose cones. These large, structural components can be efficiently manufactured using other methods. So Rocket Lab is selective in its use of 3D printing, opting for it only when it makes sense. “We’re brutal about what parts we 3D print and we’re not wed to the process. The best design wins.”

Rapid manufacturing to make space more accessible

The aim of this  new approach to the manufacturing of rockets is to make launches available to more people and companies outside of the typical space industries. Rocket Lab’s customers have included organizations as diverse as a group of California high schools which built their own satellite, to the U.S. Air Force, which uses the launches for its Space Test Program.

“Our overall mission is to try to make space accessible,” Beck said. With a growing market for small satellites and new innovations for how to use spacecraft, there are opportunities for more people than ever to be involved in space-based research or business opportunities. But to get these ideas off the ground, more launch vehicles are required. “We need to be able to produce a launch vehicle very rapidly and very frequently,” Beck said. “Right now, one rocket comes off the production line every 30 days.”

Rocket Lab

With each rocket requiring 10 engines, the engine components need to be produced in high volumes, to very high tolerances, very quickly. “If you look at the traditional manufacturing techniques that you would employ in building rocket engines, they don’t scale very well.” But 3D printing allows Rocket Lab to produce an engine roughly every 24 hours in a scalable process.

In the future, Rocket Lab has an even more ambitious timeline for production: “We’re aiming to get down to one rocket every week,” Beck said.

Personalized payload delivery

If a company wants to launch its own spacecraft, the most common option used now is a “rideshare” such as SpaceX’s smallsat program in which multiple payloads are carried aboard a rocket and are placed into orbit in the same region. But there are limitations to this method including scheduling issues and limited placing options. Rocket Lab offers a personalized delivery method instead, in which one payload is sent up at a time for one specific customer.

Having a smaller dedicated launch vehicle allows customers to place their payloads into specific orbits, as Beck explained the difference between dedicated launches and rideshares: “If you wanted to load up a bus full of people and take them to a winery, then you’d go and get a big bus. If you had one person who just needed to get across town, then you’d take an Uber.”

Rocket Lab

Compared to large launch vehicles used by companies like SpaceX, the Rocket Lab launch vehicles are far smaller and offer a more personalized service. “It’s different vehicles for different jobs,” Beck said. “You need small launch vehicles for lifting small payloads, and large launch vehicles for lifting large payloads.”

Rocket Lab’s dedicated launches are used for high value satellites, in which sending them along with other spacecraft would be too great a risk, as well as for spacecraft with delicate components or those which are related to national security. In addition, the company has its own launch pad located in New Zealand, the first commercial spaceport in the southern hemisphere, which means it has complete control of the schedule for its launches. In an industry where delays of up to a year are common, being able to ensure a project is launched on schedule is a massive advantage.

This approach of offering small payload launches is making the launch of satellites more affordable to a broader range of people, Beck said. Rocket Lab’s launches cost around $7.5 million, compared to the cheapest alternatives for dedicated rocket launches which cost $32 million.

The biggest challenge yet: A NASA moon mission

Next year, Rocket Lab will be performing its most complex launch yet: A NASA CubeSat which will be delivered into orbit around the moon. The CAPSTONE satellite is the first step in NASA establishing its Lunar Gateway, a spaceship in orbit around the moon which will serve as a staging areas for future missions to Mars.

Rocket Lab

For this project, Rocket Lab is going far beyond its typical launches into low earth orbit. It will first use an Electron rocket to launch the payload into orbit, and then its Photon satellite will detach. The satellite has its own propulsion system, and over a period of three days it will perform multiple engine burns to slowly increase its orbit. With one final burn, the craft will perform a “trans-lunar injection” to break free of the Earth’s gravity and to move and into orbit around the moon.

Once the craft is on its way to the moon, it will deploy the NASA CAPSTONE spacecraft which will use its own engines to slowly spiral in to the moon using its gravity. This type of mission requires an extreme degree of accuracy as the smallest deviation can cause a craft to end up hundreds of miles from its intended target. It will serve as a basis for much of NASA’s planned infrastructure around the moon. “It’s really important to understand that orbit, to understand that environment and how to get there,” Beck said. “It’s a big deal.”

As well as an extreme need for accuracy, the mission is going ahead on a very short timeline as the launch is targeted for early 2021. “It’s an incredibly quick timeline,” Beck said. “Generally missions to the moon are measured in billions of dollars and decades. We’re doing it with tens of millions of dollars in months. This is an incredible mission.”


Hoverwatch keylogger for Android

A keylogger Android application is basically any software or program that allows you to monitor or watch the keystrokes of someone else by recording these keystrokes while they use their Android smartphones. The application then allows you access to the recorded information. Since the whole point of a keylogger Android app is to be able to monitor someone without their knowledge, keylogger applications have enhanced features that ensure that the monitoring process is carried out in a stealthy manner. We shall go into full details of the features and particularly those of the Hoverwatch keylogger for Android later on in the article.When it comes to the legality of using hacking software programs such as the keylogger Android application, such programs are for one legal to own or possess. However, when a keylogger App is used for criminal purposes such as identity theft or stealing then the use of such application is illegal and thus punishable under federal law as well as state laws. It is an offense to secretly install a keylogger on another person’s phone.Using information that has been illicitly obtained from a keylogger application is also an offense on its own. It is however important to take note that in some states the surreptitious use of keylogger apps is legal and especially so in an employer-employee relationship.About the Hoverwatch keylogger Android applicationKeylogger programs can sound so intimidating particularly because a lot of computer lingua is associated with programs of this kind. It would not therefore come as a shock to wonder whether the use of a keylogger Android application and in this case Hoverwatch, requires any special knowledge whatsoever in the installation and use of such apps.If you have a similar question or doubts as to the same then the answer is simply that no special know how or skills is required for one to install and use Hoverwatch. 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Isn’t that very easy?Now that some basic information about Hoverwatch has been established it is time to get into the details of some of the features that have been integrated into the Hoverwatch keylogger application for Android . These features include:The invisibility featureThis is the most essential feature of Hoverwatch keylogger Android App. This particular feature ensures that the Hoverwatch app stays hidden so that your monitoring activities stay hidden from those being monitored. This in turn means that accurate information is obtained and especially for parental control purposes.Tracking of text messages and callsWith this feature you can track all the outgoing as well as incoming calls and text messages. 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If you are searching for a keylogger app for Android then you should definitely give the Hoverwatch keylogger Android application a try.

10 can’t-miss deals for the Fourth of July weekend

Believe it or not, the first half of 2020 is finally over. It’s July and we’re ready to tackle the rest of the year. It’s time for hot days and hotter deals.The 4th of July is the perfect time to save on new gadgets, gear, and gizmos. If you’re on the hunt to pick up something new for yourself, a loved one, or a friend, consider the following offers.While these deals are already worth your attention, we’re here to sweeten things up even more. For a limited time you can save an extra 15% on your purchase by entering coupon code JULYFOURTH15 at checkout on purchases of $50 or more.Jam Audio Tune In Neckband Style Bluetooth HeadphonesDon’t change the channel — Tune In’s ergonomically designed collar rests on your neck for up to 12 hours of playtime. These earphones let you play music from your device via Bluetooth technology. Use it during workouts, jogging, or commute. The neckband style makes sure that you won’t lose your earphones no matter what you do. $30MOZA Mini-Mi Wireless Charging Smartphone GimbalCapable of stabilizing your phone for stunningly smooth shots, gimbals are already pretty impressive, but the MOZA Mini-MI goes one step further. Engineered with wireless charging tech, this smartphone gimbal keeps your device energized while you record. $95VILTA-M Pro 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Stabilizer GimbalTake your video shoots to the next level with this VILTA-M Pro 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Stabilizer Gimbal. Made for creative, adventurous production, the VILTA-M Pro features various focus and zoom settings choices for cinematic quality footage. $119Robo 360° Rotation Smart AI Object Tracking GimbalThe Robo Smart Gimbal lets you film yourself totally hands-free. Using AI technology, Robo automatically recognizes your face and follows you wherever you go. It proceeds to intelligent shooting with infinite 360° rotation — once your face is detected, it starts taking pictures or videos automatically. $40LOFT Battery Base for Google HomeGoogle Home has great voice-controlled features and quality audio but falls short when it comes to portability, as it must remain plugged-in to work. LOFT is a portable battery base that solves this problem by making Google Home cordless, thus portable, so you can move your device from room to room with ease. $17JOT Battery Base for Google Home MiniThe JOT is a portable, battery base for your Google Home Mini designed to provide rechargeable, cord-free mobility at your fingertips. Simply nest the Google Home Mini securely into JOT to untether and enjoy cordless use anywhere in your home. $17datAshur PRO² 256-bit Encrypted USB 3.2 Flash DriveWe usually use flash drives for on-the-go storing and transferring of files whether for school, work, or business. But sometimes these very ordinary drives are prone to malware as well as easy targets to hacking. Never compromise your data again! datAshur® PRO² is a fully-encrypted flash drive that gives advanced security to your portable data. $80CleanTray UV Light Sterilization CaseLet’s face it. Your phone and other daily items are 10 times dirtier than most toilet seats…and you touch it about 47 times a day. Get rid of all the nasties with this CleanTray UV Light Sterilization Case. Using 4 UV-C LED lights, this case kills 99.99% of germs and bacteria in just 5 minutes — 2 times faster than other UV devices. $70Bluetooth Smart WatchAdd some intelligence to your everyday accessories with this sleek, modern smartwatch. Just add in your own SIM card, and this watch allows you to make phone calls, send text messages and much more right from your wrist. It’s also optimized as a fitness watch with a pedometer, calorie calculator, distance meter, and more integrated into the watch. $30BENTOSTACK POWERHUB 5000Less is more. The BentoStack PowerHub 5000 is a compact accessory organizer combining a charge cover, Type-C hub, and a storage compartment, all in one minimalistic stackable case. $100

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